Authored by Oge Ibida ’21 in “Black Faculty and Imagining Black Studies“
last updated 02.09.2021
There are many Africana majors in this photograph which provides a glimpse into Black student life outside of the classrooms. This photograph invites us to think about how Africana majors used their Africana knowledge in their activism and leadership roles in organizations. The Black Student Coalition hosted R.O.O.T.S (Recognizing Our Overlooked Talented Selves) showcase on the last day of Black History Month to celebrate a community of black student artists and performers. In this picture, Kiambra Griffin was the Black History Month Chair along with Nahomie Exhausts, Maurice Norman, Marqus Whitman, and Mikayla Smalls who were involved in organizing this event.
In this photograph, there is a strong sense of diasporic identities of Blackness with Afro Latinas, international folks, etc. This celebration encouraged some of the Black students to wear traditional clothing that connected to their identities. For instance, we see Kiambra wearing a traditional skirt, Dariq wearing an African print shirt, and Maurice wearing a dashiki.
Students are holding up the Wakanda symbol which also connects to the use of the black power fist used by the faculty in Figure 3. Both the black power fist and Wakanda gesture have been critiqued as a US-centric notion of diaspora. This forces us to consider the US-centric symbols and think about to what extent are these symbols considered to be diasporic? The Wakanda symbol allows us to recognize the connection formed with the Black community. Black resilience is apparent in this photograph through self-expression and recognition of the everyday members that shaped and continue to shape Davidson College’s black history. This photograph will continue to serve as an unapologetically Black and Africana spirit that lives within the students.